ESV - 1 An oracle concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum of Elkosh.
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The book of Nahum was written over 100 years after Jonah preached to the city of Nineveh, the capital of Assyria. Nineveh had repented, but in the meantime, they had returned to their evil ways. Now Nahum prophesied judgments that were to come upon the city. The names of the writing prophets have a bearing on the message of their books. Nahum’s name means “comfort” or “full of comfort.” Strangely enough there would be no “comforter” (same word) for Nineveh, Nahum 3:7, who had shown no compassion. Although, Assyria was used by God to punish Israel, she ignored this commission by acting in pride and cruelty against many nations, Isaiah 10:5-7. For that, Nineveh was to be destroyed. Nahum declared and described the doom that Nineveh deserved. Nahum alluded to how she would fall, Nahum 1:8, 2:6, 8. The overflowing Tigris River undermined the wall, creating a hole so that the Babylonian army penetrated the city. Nineveh may have thought she was invincible, but she was reminded of No-Amon (Thebes) in Egypt, which although seemingly secure by surrounding waters, had been defeated by Assyria herself, Nahum 2:8-11. Nineveh was just as vulnerable. She would be brought to nothing, like shaking a tree of ripe figs directly into the mouths of eaters, Nahum 3:12. Its armies would be annihilated, like the locusts, which hiding in hedges on cold days, disappear when the sun warms them, Nahum 3:15-17. Nahum 2-3 describes the awful battle: the clattering chariots that wielded steel axle knives, the galloping horses, the confusion of so many corpses, and the city burning intensely. The city symbolized by powerful lions which the king hunted, Nahum 2:11-12, was completely left desolate. In fact, for many centuries, the location of the ruins of Nineveh was unknown, until discovered in 1849, by Austen Layard. But there would be comfort and consolation for the people of Judah because God, in justice and righteousness, will avenge His people, Nahum 1:2. This robber of the nations would be plundered, the torture and oppression would be returned on her. God is patient, not acting impulsively, but will act decisively and powerfully when His anger is aroused, not acquitting the wicked, Nahum 1:3-6. God is good to his people, Nahum 1:7, and is their defense, as the people of Jerusalem found out when Sennacherib of Assyria determined to take Jerusalem. Hezekiah prayed and the Lord defeated the Assyrians without Judah having to fight at all, II Chronicles 32:20-22, II Kings 19:32. The verse of Nahum 1:7 has been a great encouragement and comfort to God’s people ever since. God promises the complete destruction of Nineveh, Nahum 1:8-14. This was good news for the Jewish people, Nahum 1:15. Compare Paul’s use of it in Romans 10:15. It was the gospel of peace they longed for. Judah will regain her spiritual life and service unto the Lord, Nahum 1:15, 2:2. Nahum, “comforter,” gave consolation to a people who had suffered and had been afflicted, by revealing the destruction of Nineveh.
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